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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 26, 2011 at 3:45 PM

So how young is the UW defense?

As the unreset over the performance of the Husky defense has seemingly gotten just even more, uh, unrestier over the last few days, one question that has arisen is whether it’s all just due to youth.

And that has led to the inevitable next question of just how young is the UW defense in comparison to the rest of its Pac-12 brethern?

Any of these types of roster comparisons are always a little risky — is having just two seniors but eight juniors better than having five seniors but six freshmen as your starters? These things can be spun lots of different wayts.

But we aim to please here, so I’ve broken down the starting defensive depth chart for each Pac-12 school this week by class. Even this kind of comparsion is fraught with the potential to mislead — depth charts can change so quickly from week to week for a variety of reasons, usually injuries, that a team that was experienced a month ago may suddenly be young. Even a really detailed breakdown of every defense week-by-week might not really yield a fair or accurate comparison.

But as a basic answer to the question, I figured simply detailing the starters by class for every team would at least tell us something.

The overall conclusion? UW is a little on the young side, with four senior starters and six upper classmen. But the Huskies aren’t necessarily a whole lot younger than a lot of other teams in the conference.

The teams with the most senior defensive starters are Arizona, Arizona State and Cal, with six each. The team with the fewest is WSU, with one. Everybody else has three, four or five.

And in terms of upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) UW is on the young side with six, which is tied with WSU and Stanford for the fewest. UCLA has the most, with nine.

Here’s a breakdown for each team:

ARIZONA
Seniors: 6
Juniors: 0
Sophomores: 4
Freshmen: 2
Comment: Arizona lists 12 defensive starters. It lost some key experience at the end spots last year it hasn’t been able to replace.

ARIZONA STATE
Seniors: 6
Juniors: 2
Sophomores: 3
Freshmen: 0
Comment: Devils’ defensive experience was one reason the team was as highly-touted entering the season as it was.

CAL
Seniors: 6
Juniors: 1
Sophomores: 1
Freshmen: 3
Comment: Four of Cal’s front seven are seniors but the Bears also play a lot of younger players up front regularly.

COLORADO
Seniors: 5
Juniors: 3
Sophomores: 2
Freshmen: 1
Comment: Lots of injuries for the Buffs this year.

OREGON
Seniors: 5
Juniors: 3
Sophomores: 2
Freshmen: 1
Comment: Ducks a pretty young team overall, still.

OREGON STATE
Seniors: 3
Juniors: 4
Sophomores: 2
Freshmen: 2
Comment: Beavers also a pretty young team overall.

STANFORD
Seniors: 4
Juniors: 2
Sophomores: 5
Freshmen: 0
Comment: Cardinal building a pretty good foundation to survive post-Andrew Luck.

UCLA
Seniors: 4
Juniors: 5
Sophomores: 1
Freshmen: 1
Comment: Whoever the coach is next year will have a decent base of talent to build around.

UTAH
Seniors: 4
Juniors: 4
Sophomores: 3
Freshmen: 0
Comment: Despite all the losing, Utah is actually third in total defense this week — it’s Utah’s offense that’s been the real issue.

USC
Seniors: 3
Juniors: 5
Sophomores: 1
Freshmen: 2
Comment: Trojans have somewhat quietly begun to get better on defense and may be able to keep that going in 2012.

WASHINGTON
Seniors: 4
Juniors: 2
Sophomores: 3
Freshmen: 2
Comment: Other than Cal, UW is starting the most freshmen this week.

WASHINGTON STATE
Seniors: 1
Juniors: 5
Sophomores: 4
Freshmen: 1
Comment: Young this year, maybe, but won’t be next year for whoever the coach is.

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